The ReFresh process is designed specifically for English-language, international churches as a tool for renewing and refocusing the vision of the local congregation as it becomes a mobilized church. Since international churches normally consist of a transient membership, the ReFresh process is structured for implementation within a one year timeframe.
As a component of the IBC Strengthening Churches Strategy, ReFresh is one of the tools offered to existing English-speaking international churches to help them refocus their vision and maintain their spiritual health and vitality. The result is that these biblically healthy churches will be reproducing churches that participate in planting new English-speaking international churches.
There are four key elements of ReFresh.
The process begins with a vision team undertaking the task of coming to a fresh recognition of the church’s biblical Mission as established by Jesus. This mission consists of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment—loving God and loving others. Specific tools have been developed to lead the church in this task of Mission Refocus.
The second element of ReFresh is to begin the process of Vision Discovery. This is the heart of the ReFresh process. Here the church learns how to discern and articulate a shared vision of what God desires for that church in its current setting. In short, it is discovering God’s vision for what the outworking of the church’s mission will look like in that specific setting and community. The goal is to discover God’s vision for this local church as a key component in that church’s faithfulness to its mission. The Vision then becomes the compass for the church’s direction and catalyst for its development.
Coupled with the vision component is Values Discovery. In this element the church seeks to identify the character or behavioral traits that are inherent in its “personality” and make up the heart of the church’s identity. These functional core values distinguish one church from another. A church’s values will be expressed in its strategies. A set of tools is provided to the church to help with this process of Values Discovery.
The final element of the ReFresh process is Strategy Development. A church’s strategy is simply the collection of intentional decisions it makes and the related actions it takes to achieve its vision. In effect, the strategy becomes the church’s playbook. ReFresh provides tools that a church may use to develop and implement effective strategies.
For each of the elements of ReFresh—Mission, Vision, Values, Strategy—there is a toolbox of items that a church may select from as it works on that specific element. Because of the diversity of international churches, these tools are not designed to be a set program curriculum that every church uses in the same way. Rather, the tools are ideas, resources, exercises and techniques that a church may find helpful as it works through each specific element of the ReFresh process. The toolbox is to be used much like the toolbox of a carpenter. Just as the carpenter doesn’t need to use every tool in his toolbox for every task, so the vision team uses only the tools that are helpful for the task at hand.
Goal of ReFresh
The goal of the ReFresh process is to help every international church to be spiritually healthy so that it can have a kingdom impact for the cause of Christ. Such a church is described as a mobilized church that has a biblical mission, a shared vision, common values and an effective strategy for impacting its community and the world by reproducing disciples, leaders and congregations.
The ReFresh process has been under development and utilized in various ways in several IBC churches since 2011. Later that year, IBC Berlin became the first church to engage in the ReFresh process. Following that initial process in Berlin, ReFresh was shared with the leaders at Frontline Community Church in Ramstein, Germany, and enabled them to renew their vision and refocus their calling to their community and to the church planting efforts of the IBC. Other churches that are benefiting from ReFresh include IBC Budapest, Bethel IBC (Frankfurt), First Baptist Church of Aviano (Italy), IBC Bremen (Germany), IBC Antwerp, and Calvary International Church (Sao Paulo, Brazil).